Tag Archives: history

‘Traveler’ Is A Fictionalized Rendering of a UFO Crash Event In 1897 Texas As Told By Newspaper Accounts Of The Day

Review by: KEN KORCZAK

The premise of this novel centers around one of the most iconic UFO cases in history, but most of it reads a lot more like the Dukes of Hazzard or an episode of Hee-Haw than the X-Files. There’s a lot muscle cars, old pickup trucks, horses, hay bales and Harleys. Where you find them you’ll find a lot of good ol’ boys, hayseeds, hickster lawmen, slutty women and biker gang types.

This ambitious book also takes us back more than 100 years to tell the tale of a UFO-crash event through the eyes of the frontier people who witnessed it. That would be the residents of Aurora, a hardscrabble small town in northern Texas where the Dallas Morning News famously reported in April of 1897 that a UFO crashed and left the body of a dead alien for the simple townsfolk to bury.

But wait — this book attempts to do even more. In addition to telling a story from two different historical timelines, it makes frequent breaks away from the dual fictional narratives to provide readers with scads of straightforward information about UFOs.

Co-author of TRAVELER Kerry Trent Haggar

Does it all hold together? Well … I guess I’ll say with mediocre enthusiasm that it does. It presents a coherent narrative for the most part. The diversions from the fictional tales to give us nonfictional UFO information aren’t so intrusive as to scuttle our sense of a story that flows and makes sense.

On the other hand, whatever chance this tale had for being a riveting page turner was lost when the authors decided on the three-pronged approach I describe above.

That’s too bad because the premise for TRAVELER is an idea with tremendous plot potential: A plucky young reporter gets her hands on a hot story — a deep mystery that’s even more complex than anyone imagines — and she sets out to unravel the mystery using her skills as an investigative  journalist to write the scoop of the century.

But all that is washed out because the narrative is constantly switching gears between competing story timelines with added breaks to fill us in with UFO background information.

TRAVELER co-author Johnny Cochrane.

Another major drawback for me is that the authors’ choice to play their story for lowbrow laughs. It features characters that are painfully stereotypical, comical “white trash” types — you know, folks that are barely employed, grow “weed” on the side for extra cash, poach deer for food, live in shabby dumps, drive junky cars, hang out in frowzy bars, etc.

Even our newswoman heroine, Bonnie Reynolds, is a rather saucy tramp known to engage in the occasional casual three-way sex romp with her lusty dominatrix roommate. Here is how the authors describe reporter Bonnie Reynolds:

“142 pounds of alluring femininity … She was and forever would be a little slutty and a little dirty but perfectly happy with herself for being that way …”

Okay! So she’s not exactly Florence Nightingale. But hey, I’m no prude. (I was even a newspaper reporter once). It isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Bonnie Reynolds’ licentiousness makes her a more interesting character in some respects, I suppose. It’s just that, because her impulsive debauchery is a baseline trait for more or less everyone in this tale, it doesn’t exactly make her stand out as a unique viewpoint character.

Aurora’s UFO crash has been subsequently investigated a number of times over the years, but each re-opening of the case only seems to deepen the mystery.

Sadly, I feel compelled to call out one particular passage in this book that brings great discredit to the authors — and although it’s only a couple of pages worth — it involves descriptions of Native Americans, of the Comanche people, and their attack on a group of settlers.  The way this scene was written  left me with a sense of loathing. That’s because it’s put forward with a  certain gleeful viciousness I found disturbing.

Were the fierce Comanche people of this historical period saints? Absolutely not. But were the Spanish, Mexicans and American settlers who were invading, milling around and robbing the lands of the First Americans one iota better? Again — absolutely not. It was a different, complicated time. There were few paragons of virtue to be found on any side of the equation of the untamed West. But if one is inclined to write about atrocities committed by one group — then at least give a balanced account of history. There was plenty of blame to go around.

I could go on here with more to criticize as well — but I’ll only mention the painfully bad editing of this product. I despise playing ‘Grammar Police’ but sometimes authors who produce indie books or those issued by small press operations (in this case FLYING DISK PRESS) give me no choice. Don’t blame the messenger.

All in all, I can neither recommend or not recommend TRAVELER because ultimately its quality will be in the eyes of the reader — and I think opinions will be widely split.

ADDITIONAL NOTE:

The story of the Aurora UFO crash which appeared in the Dallas Morning News was written by S.E. Haydon. His great-great-grandson Stan Haydon published a small book in 2013 which is also a slightly fictionalized account of the event.

Stan Haydon said that story has been a source of constant controversy within his family for “five generations.” He suggests that his grandfather believed the story to be true and not a hoax by the original Haydon, as has often been charged by skeptics.

You can read my brief comments on this short, 29-page booklet over on Amazon HERE



Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

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The Abduction Chronicles Is An Unusual Ufology Tale With Zany Vaudeville Overtones


Review by: KEN KORCZAK

Most books involving the difficult subject of UFO abduction are frightening, dour, and deadly serious as the author struggles to deal with the agony of a life shattered and eschatological shock.

But not his one.

The author keeps his tongue firmly implanted in cheek. He not only evinces an attitude of whimsy and fun, but displays a sense of humor that’s downright cornball throughout his narrative.

Elitists and snobs might even use the term “lowbrow comedy.”

Thomas L. Hay

I have a feeling that would be okay with the author, a man from a small town in Missouri who has enjoyed a long and classic all-American life of hard work, military service, love, relationships and basic middle-class success – but a life that from childhood which has been shot through with the intrusion of the UFO phenomenon.

THOMAS L. HAY plays it coy with his readers. How much of this tale is true and authentic and how much is sensationalized and fictionalized? That’s the deal he has struck with his audience. You’ll never really know for sure. If you become irritated with Mr. Hay’s unrelenting attitude of playful whimsy and rapid-fire wisecracking as you read – well, I suppose you can always stop reading any time you want to.

It all makes for an usual offering in the realm of UFO literature. I have feeling that some readers will think that Mr. Hay has broken the mold in a successful way, while others will think this is just broken.

Here’s my meta-observation: I have the impression that Thomas Hay is a person who may have experience encountered some kind of genuine UFO/alien phenomenon during his life. The first chapters telling of his childhood growing up in a small Midwestern town have a certain ring of authenticity about them. When he tells of an abduction experience as a teenager, I get a strong intuitive impression that this might have been something that really happened to him – but it almost doesn’t really matter.

The Author is a veteran of the U.S. Navy

With THE ABDUCTION CHRONICLES, Thomas Hay is not trying to convince anyone of anything one way or the other. Completely without pretension or phoniness, the author has cobbled together a kind of farcical vaudeville version of a close-encounters tale with a strong dash of soap opera melodrama — and then finished out with elements of science fiction thriller overtones.

The book works best for me when the author stays close to the plausible effects the UFO abduction phenomenon has on life, work and relationships – but when he ventures into large portions of the narrative that are clearly fictional, it too often devolves into pure zany farce – perhaps purely for the sake of having some fun with a topic that is all too often handled with such too much morbid seriousness.

It’s almost as if the author us saying; “Hey, lighten up everybody. If you really are being abducted by aliens you might as well have a good laugh about it. Roll with it. Life goes on!”



Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

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Dava Sobel delivers intriguing insights into the life of Copernicus, but one aspect of the book falters

downloadReview by: KEN KORCZAK

If would be fair to say that Nicolaus Copernicus was the Albert Einstein of his time. In fact, what Copernicus was asking the world to accept was even more radical than what Einstein proposed with his theory of relativity.

Shortly after Einstein’s relativity went public, the New York Times pounced. An editorial said Einstein’s theory was: “Certainly a fiction.” But he got off easy compared to Copernicus.

More than 500 years ago when the intellectual world got wind of Copernicus’s heliocentric model featuring an earth that was not only spinning, but hurling through space — it simply defied common sense!

Arguments like these were made: “Would not birds get lost after they flew off their nests? If the earth spun away from under them while they were in the air, how would they find their way back?”

It seemed the most fundamental notion of common observation: The earth was solid underfoot, did not appear to be moving, no motion could be felt or observed – a spinning, orbiting earth? Ridiculous!

And what about the sacred scripture of the Bible!

This is what makes the Copernican Revolution still so incredibly breathtaking to this day. It was a monumental leap – a major paradigm shattering event – against seemingly impossible odds.

Imagine the man, the fabulous, disciplined mind, that could make such a thing happen! It was Copernicus!

For me, the stunning nature of what Copernicus achieved — the feeling of it — is not captured or conveyed in this book. DAVA SOBEL has given us a lot of interesting facts, but failed to impart a sense of wonder.

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Dava Sobel

I must also say: I agree with other critics who have taken Sobel harshly to task for including her three act play to fill the middle third of this book – a disastrous decision both on her part, and that of her editors. The latter should have talked her out of it. The play is a drag. I think it fails to capture the spirit of the man, and the texture of the times.

That’s why this book cannot earn a top rating from me.

Even so, this is otherwise a fascinating book from which I learned things about Copernicus that I did not know before – and I have admired Copernicus and read about him since I became an obsessive amateur astronomer almost 50 years ago.

I became a die-hard fan of DAVA SOBEL after I read her GALILEO’S DAUGHTER one of the best books I have read in 10 years. When I saw Sobel had turned her brilliant historian’s eye on the mighty Copernicus, I couldn’t wait to buy a copy and read.

The first third and the last third are indeed absorbing and fascinating. I give Sobel enormous credit for crafting an often intimate narrative of the life of Copernicus, considering what must be an agonizing lack of available historical documentation. So much of what we might know about Copernicus has been lost – especially the biography written by Copernicus’s only student, the brilliant but tragic Georg Joachim Rheticus.

I live for the day – if it might ever happen – that some discovery is made of Rheticus’s biography of his master in some ancient back room, museum or library.

But Sobel could have done so much more with what was one of the most amazing, tumultuous times in history. Consider that Copernicus was about 19 or 20 years old when Columbus landed in the Americas in 1492, and the shock waves this sent across Europe. It’s not mentioned in this book. It was also Copernican science that drove the final stake into the heart of feudalism – sure, feudalism was all but dead by 1500, but the Copernican universe made sure it would stay dead. (Many scholars have also offered that it was The Copernican system that provided the fuel to end feudalism of Japan! No mention of that either).

Then there’s the overarching societal effects of calendar reform, the death blow it delivered to the Dark Ages in general, the amazing confluence of the Protestant Revolution — all of this gets short shrift – in favor of pages padded with a bland theatrical play that just had to discuss the homosexual predilections of Rheticus and Copernicus’s relationship with his concubine.

Again, the first third and last third of this book are a tantalizing and absorbing peek into the life of one of the most consequential men ever to live – and makes this book worth the price. I recommend you buy it.

But, as it stands, A MORE PERFECT HEAVEN represents a missed opportunity to provide the reader with a more comprehensive look at a time when the entire spiritual and psychological universe of humankind changed in a fundamental way – and what it still means to all of us today.




Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

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The Boy Who Died and Came Back by Robert Moss is a rich, extraordinary journey through the multiverse

robert-mossReview By KEN KORCZAK

The title of this book may lead some to believe that it’s mostly about the NDE, or near death experience. But the author’s experience with “dying and coming back” at age nine seems a brief anecdote against a backdrop of an entire lifetime of extraordinary experiences.

This is a book far more about dreaming than the NDE, and using the dreaming experience as a launching pad for an intense exploration of the universe, or more accurately, the transphsyical universe and “multiverse.” The subtitle says this book is also about a tantalizing something called “dream archaeology.”

Not to say that the author’s NDE account isn’t fascinating. It’s one of the most unique you will read about even if you have already read hundreds of others, like I have. I suspect that ROBERT MOSS is a guy who can’t be defined by a single event, or just one kind of experience, no matter how mind blowing.

Moss could aptly be described a 21st Century shaman — in a way that combines the most ancient definition of the term with that of a modern man and scholar who is a lifetime student of history, ethnography and mythology.

A former history professor and journalist, Robert Moss began his literary career writing international spy thriller novels. His first big success, “Moscow Rules” landed on the New York Times Best Seller list, stayed there for weeks, making Moss wealthy and a hot commodity among publishers.

He could have continued to rake in the big cash as a Tom Clancy or Frederick Forsyth kind of writer — but he soon succumbed to his true nature, that of a shamanic dreamer and explorer of consciousness.

He went over to writing books that were either about dreaming or dovetailed with dreaming, such as his historical novel, The Firekeeper, which he wrote after experiencing a kind of psychic and/or dream contact with Sir William Johnson, a major figure in the French and Indian War of 1754-1763.

Moss combined direct dream contact and a psychic connection with intensive field research to create a powerful historic novel which was praised by the likes of literary giant James A. Michener.

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Robert Moss

william-blake-pic

William Blake

This book, THE BOY WHO DIED AND CAME BACK TO LIFE,  is somewhat autobiographical in that Moss makes use of key events in his life, beginning with his NDE at age 9, to describe how turning one’s mind away from mere material perceptions and toward the wider spectrum of consciousness can result in marvelous, breath-taking adventures.

Moss uses the term “dream archaeology” to describe a method researching our past that involves accessing ancient times and the actual minds and souls of long-dead people so that we an learn from them directly — it’s a way to go beyond mere historical facts to uncover the broad, psycho-social, spiritual and — well, I guess the larger cosmic context of historic events.

It’s an amazing book. It’s too rich in scope and detail for one short review to encompass here, so I won’t try. I’ll just say that this work gets my top recommendation — it’s a rich feast providing not only food for thought, but a veritable banquet for thought. Moss is an elegant writer who commands a silky flowing prose which often borders on poetic, yet remains clear and accessible for any reader.

One last thing: My theory is that Robert Moss is the reincarnation of the 18th Century English painter, poet and print maker William Blake. If you don’t believe me, read up on Blake, study his work and visions, and also Google a picture of Blake. Compare Blake’s images side to side with that of Robert Moss. They even look alike.

Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

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